30 June 2011

Getting Old

I do agree with the idea that age is more a state of mind and I personally feel "young" for the most part.  However, since I've turned 40 I've noticed some things about getting older that make me feel, for lack of a better word, old.
  • Muscles get sore that never got sore before -- muscles I don't think I ever knew I had
  • Taking Advil (or similar) becomes a much more regular thing
  • Hair color goes from a nice to have to a must have
  • It takes more than an extra cup of coffee to make up for one late night
  • The 5 pounds you put on over a week's vacation, don't just disappear a week or two after you return from vacation
  • The amount of stuff you don't know seems to grow
  • People in their twenties now really do seem like they come from a different generation and, frankly, I think of them as kids
  • I sometimes have to question if a skirt or a pair of shorts are too short
  • I sometimes have to question if an item of clothing or accessory is too trendy or "young"
  • I often have to choose between skin care that fights wrinkles and skin care that fights pimples
  • Kids' movies make me fall asleep
  • Kids' TV shows drive me away from the TV
  • I frequently ask Zoe to turn down the volume
Since I'm still about 30 years away from being able to take Social Security I think I'll have to work more on the list of the ways I feel young.  

29 June 2011

The Cosmetics Counter: Surf Spray

Since I have rather short hair I don't use much in the way of hair products.  My hair usually requires very little in the way of styling and I tend to not go in for expensive shampoos, conditioners or other styling products.  However, last time I got my haircut my hair dresser used a new product (or at least new to me) called "Surf Spray" on my hair and the results were really great so I decided to go ahead and buy it.

When I first got home with it I felt like I had probably blown $25 since everyone knows there is some kind of magic that happens to your hair in the hair salon that can never be re-created at home.  I am happy to report that I was completely pleasantly surprised.  This stuff magically adds thickness and texture.  I spray it on and then just rub my hair while drying it.  What could be easier?  I thought maybe it only worked in short hair, but a few weeks ago Zoe let me try it on her longer hair and it also had great results.

So, if you're looking for something to give your hair texture (not smooth, sleek, straight) give it a try.  It is supposed to be the texture you get after a day at the beach.  Not sure that is exactly true, but it is still pretty cool stuff.

27 June 2011

Tea at the Plaza

Last week was a pretty terrific week.  The school year ended, I hosted a successful party/book swap with my reading friends, the always lovely Emily came for a visit, I waived to Barack Obama, I rode in one of the new MetroNorth train cars, and, best of all, I was taken for tea at the Plaza.  Really everything that comes before on this list pales in comparison because tea at the Plaza is a truly special event.

Going to tea at the Plaza is not something I would have thought of doing, but the aforementioned lovely Emily gave me this wonderful experience as my 40th birthday present.  We arrived in New York City in the late morning and did a bit of this and that including some fabulous window shopping at Tiffany's and Henri Bendel.  Before we knew it it was almost our reservation time so we made our way up 5th Ave to The Plaza.

I'd never been inside the Plaza before and the lobby did not disappoint.  We were seated immediately and we ooh'd and ah'd over the menu, the setting, the lovely piano music playing softly in the background.  And after a somewhat hilarious search for the restrooms, we relaxed into what is basically a spa-like experience that involves food and tea instead of facials or massage.

Of course I made good use of my iPhone to document the experience so here are some pictures:

The tea service including champagne. 

Close up of the most delicious cucumber sandwich.

The Lovely Emily and her champagne.

The portrait of Eloise that hangs in the hallway off the lobby.

It truly was a magical experience that I will never forget.  When we left The Plaza I felt like I was returning to Earth after having been in some magical place.  I highly recommend the experience as a special treat or to celebrate a special occasion.

Thank you again Emily!

21 June 2011

Tuesday Shoesday: The Purse Edition

My failure to find inspiring shoe designs has led me to two related conclusions.

1. I need to do more than just shop online
2. I need to find new shopping sites/stores

As a result of my desire to branch out I've spent a fair amount of time online looking at Etsy.com and some other similar sites. I'm sure it is not news to say that Etsy is a great site. There are some really interesting things to be found on that site -- certainly from the sublime to the ridiculous and most certainly in overwhelming quantity.  I decided to narrow my exploration to an area I love almost as much as shoes.  Purses, of course!

There are about a million great bags, but I picked out a few I really liked. They are all fairly affordable especially compared to a Coach bag or Kate Spade despite the fact that they are some of the more expensive bags to be found on the site.

If I were in need or particular want (since "need" rarely is a factor with purses) of a a new tote this one would be high on my list.  The details and colors are modern and casual, but at the same time the bag looks like it would work for a lot of occasions.

This bag is all about the details. How great is that lining? Click the link to see how gorgeous it is closed up too. If this were a "designer" bag I am sure it would sell for at least $250.00 or more.

This is a gorgeous evening bag.  I already have a couple of dresses this would work with.  Now I just wish I had somewhere to go!

Next time I think I'll look at jewelry.  

20 June 2011

Father's Day Poem

This was Zoe's gift to Rob for Father's Day:


My Dad

my dad is blue
he smells like yellow cake
with [chocolate] frosting
he looks like green beach
he sounds like [his] goofy
laugh after I say
the word [guinea] (gin-e)
he feels [like] the warm and
tight hug he gave me
when it was the first day
of [kindergarten] as I got
on bus 14
he taste[s] like Barbecued
steak and [whoopie] pies
my dad make[s] me [feel] [confident]

I think I may just have to have this framed.

14 June 2011

Tuesday Shoesday: Complete Lack of Inspiration

I've been wanting to do a Tuesday Shoesday post for a couple of weeks now and the fact is I can't find any shoes to get excited about.  I am completely sick and bored of strappy, wedges, gladiator style, impossible architectural styles, espadrilles, cork and ankle wrapping.  The only relief is in the classics and even there, I can find no real joy.

I am just going to come out and declare that this is the summer of bad shoes.

I would never say this for any other reason, but I am looking forward to what fall will bring.

13 June 2011

The Corrections

I can't believe it, but  I actually finished all 576 pages of The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.  It took me 21 days to get through it and there were many points where I felt like giving up.  And now I am just trying to make sense of what I read.

When I declared yesterday that I had  finished the book my mother asked me if I liked it and I couldn't really answer the question.  After a rather slow start it did become compelling reading.  There is no question that the writing is excellent and that Mr. Franzen is quite gifted.  There were sections that I could not put down.  One morning Zoe almost missed her bus because I was too engrossed in reading to notice the time.  From that it sounds like I really liked it, but the big problem I'm having is that I pretty much despised all of the characters and had only fleeting sympathy or empathy for them.

The novel is a story of an American family, but possibly the worst American family ever.  I mean, there's no incest or physical abuse, but the psychological dysfunction, the dishonesty, and the complete lack of warmth and compassion was just harrowing and disgusting.  We all do or have done some colossally stupid and self-destructive things in our lives, but typically (or hopefully) these moments are limited and we live through them. The characters in this book are all like the darkest story in your family history.  Am I so naive to think most people and most families are not really like this?  Yes, families struggle, but do family members really treat each other this way?  Yes, no one can hurt your feelings like your family can but do they feel the same hatred and loathing for each other?  I don't know, but I hope not.

I am left utterly confused by the point of this epic story.  In the end hasn't this family basically sacrificed one of its members and laid all the blame for everything that has gone wrong at his feet so that they can move on with their lives?  Mr. Franzen names the town they are from St. Jude and, of course, St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes.  It seems to me they are all lost causes wether they pick themselves up and move on or not.  Partly I was left feeling afraid that some day Zoe would drop me off in a nursing home and be glad to be rid of me.  And partly I was left feeling grateful that my family is more honest and loving than this one.

I still can't tell you if I liked the book.  As an antidote I am now reading Names My Sisters Call Me by Megan Crane which I stole from the shelves of Becky when there was nothing she could do about it.  [Cue evil laughter]

Anyone else out there read The Corrections who can help me out with some insight?

06 June 2011

Ten Things I Can't Do Without

Trolling around the internet this evening, I got this idea here and I really liked it so here goes: (Zoe and the internet just have to go without saying.)

1. Chapstick.

Yes, it probably is addictive, but I don't care because I love it and use it multiple times per day and I'm not sorry.

2. Coffee.  Duh.

3.  My iPhone.  I rarely go anywhere without it.  I love it more than any gadget I have ever had and I have had a lot of gadgets and given them a lot of love.

4.  Clinique All About Eyes concealer.  Without it I would be frequently mistaken for a raccoon.

5. Email.  Sad, but true fact is I would have no friends if it weren't for email.  I am simply horrible at picking up the phone to talk.  I am just not good at chatting, but if you email me, I will email you back.

6. Reading.  What else would I even do with that time?  I have no idea.  (Notice I didn't say books.  I am all about eBooks and e-reading at last.)

7. Ice Cream.  Yes, I love candy, but my most favorite treat is ice cream.  I would give up candy for ice cream almost every time.

8.  The Gym.  I should hope so given my love of ice cream and candy, but also I am just plain addicted to working out.  I would not make it through the week without the stress release that a good workout can be.  I go to the gym or the Pilates studio 5 to 6 times per week, no fooling.

9.  Sirius Satellite Radio.  Or as I like to call it, crack-radio.  I've had Sirius in my car for the past 7 years and I really can't imagine how I would go back to listening to the regular radio ever again.  Forget CDs or iPods too.  Sirius is the only way to travel.  Plus, since starting to work from home, I also can listen while I work via their website.  It's just awesome listening and I have discovered so much great music because  of it.

10.  Rob.  Maybe I should have listed him with the obvious, but just in case, you should all know that, crazy as he is, he really helps me stay sane.  I couldn't love him more.